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Work continues on protecting those in Emergency Accommodation during the Covid 19 Crisis

Published on Saturday, 21 Mar 2020
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Since the threat of Covid 19 became apparent a number of weeks ago, the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, the DRHE, NGO’s and local authorities across the country have been working alongside the HSE to protect those in Emergency Accommodation during the current crisis. Early meetings between Minister Murphy and the DRHE resulted in work to secure the necessary facilities for self-isolation for those in Emergency Accommodation and extra funding has been made available to service providers, NGO’s and local authorities to protect vulnerable people and those who work with them.

The Minister commented:

“This country has shown how we can come together in a time of crisis and this has been very evident over the last number of weeks with all those who provide much needed services for people in emergency accommodation. Intensive engagement between my department, NGO’s, local authorities and the DRHE is ongoing and earlier this week I guaranteed our NGOs any additional funding that is needed to take the necessary actions to keep users of their services safe, as well as their own staff.

Because of early action we have been in a position to secure facilities across the country for self-isolation that can be used if required. We will continue to secure more places as needed and discussions with other state sectors are ongoing in this regard. I know that many people and families currently accessing emergency accommodation will be worried for themselves and their families.  I want to assure these households that their health and safety is a priority and we are working very closely with the HSE to do all we can to respond.

I want to thank our partner organizations and their staff who have been working day and night over the last number of days and weeks. People are pulling together across organisations and across communities and I will help them in every way that I can.

I remain in continuous contact with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) and local authorities nationwide to coordinate the response to Covid-19 and Minister English and I will speak with the main NGOs again next week as we continue to evaluate the measures already taken and take decisions on what more needs to be done.”

A range of measures are now in place and will be reviewed on a daily basis:

  • Local authorities have secured additional emergency accommodation to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to allow for the isolation of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID 19;
  • Additional funding has been made available by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to operate the additional facilities;
  • The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government continues to work closely with the HSE and the National Public Health Emergency Team in relation to the response for homeless households;
  • The Department has issued guidance prepared by the HSE to local authorities who are engaging with their service providers on the necessary measures;
  • Local authorities are working closely with their HSE counterparts at the local level.